In the very early 19th century, the Jones family of Dolgelly, Wales launched into the printing and publishing business. The family’s reasons for doing so seem to have more to do with religion than commerce.In the late 18th century, Wales was swept over by a spiritual and religious fervor led by John Wesley. The tide was ardently non-conformist, anti-Established Church (Church of England), Welsh-nationalist, and decidedly working and middle class in its congregational focus.
William Jones (b. about 1760 – d. 1830), who was known in his community as “William of Brynterion“, was the first in his neighborhood to convert to Wesleyanism. His passion for the new, non-conformist faith was exceptional, and like many of the early converts, he sought to spread the “Good News”. While some of his Wesleyan peers traveled the Welsh countryside preaching in open air revivals, William – a forward looking man – saw the power of the press as his means of reaching thousands. As one of the principal landowners and citizens of Dolgelley, it is believed that he invited Thomas Williams (discussed below) to Dolgelly, and offered his youngest son, Richard Jones, as an apprentice to learn the trade.
From this office, a dynasty of eminent printers, authors, book publishers and Welsh political activists was launched.
In 1925, Ifano Jones, the Welsh Librarian at Cardiff and respected historian, published a dense, deeply researched book that revealed the history of the printed word in Wales; from it’s first cradle press in the early 18th century, to the early 20th century. The Joneses of Dolgelly figured prominently into that work. The following is a transcription of the chapters that deal principally with this family, their founding of the Dolgelly press, and all the 19th century individuals who started their careers there, then went on to even larger accomplishments.
The following is a partial transcription of “A History of Printing and Printers in Wales to 1810, successive and related printers to 1923, also, A History of Printing and Printers in Monmouthshire to 1923.”
By Ifano Jones, The Welsh Librarian, Cardiff
William Lewis (Printers), Limited, Cardiff. 1925.
About 1798(1) THOMAS WILLIAMS commenced printing at DOLGELLY, continuing until 1807(2), when he took into partnership RICHARD JONES(3), who had served his apprenticeship with him, and who, soon after – in 1808(4) – upon THOMAS WILLIAM’S retirement, became sole proprietor.
THOMAS WILLIAMS had before commencing to print been in business at DOLGELLY as a bookseller: see his name as ‘Mr. Williams, Bookseller, Dollgellau.’ Among the ‘Subscribers’ Names’ in ‘Drych y Prif Oesoedd’ (ed. Mirror the First Time?)(1794).
THOMAS WILLIAMS, self-taught as he was, and lacking in skill and taste as a printer, was nevertheless better than some of his predecessors. Born in 1757, he was the son of William Jones (1717 – 1783) and Ellen Thomas (1718-1780), of Penardd Wnion Fawr and Y Cae Glâs, in the parish of Llanfachreth, near Dolgelly. His first occupation was that of a cattle-drover, which took him frequently over the Welsh Border; but developing a love of books, and becoming acquainted with booksellers and printers in carrying messages for Rhys Jones of Y Blaenau and Hugh Jones of Maesglasau, he learnt sufficient of the craft of printing to set up as a master-printer, and so inaugurated what for DOLGELLY has since 1798 been an industry of considerable importance. In religion he…
(1) Owen Rees, Dolgelly, in ‘By-Gones (Dec. 24, 1879) surmises it was about 1795’. ‘Cambrian Bibliography’ records nothing printed by THOMAS WILLIAMS before 1799; but that he was in business before is clear from the fact that on the last page (8) of the ‘Troeadigaeth yr Atheist… Dolgelley, Argraphwyd gan T. Williams.’ He advertises ‘Dolgelley, Mai 3dd. 1798 Heddyw [=to-day] y cyhoeddir. Annerch Ieuengctyd Cymru’, etc.
(2) Galwad Caredigol ar yr Arminiaid (Call friends for the Arminians?) … Dolgellau. Argraphwyd gan T. Williams.’, signed and dated on the last page (12), ‘John Roberts Llanbrynmair. Chwef. 10, 1807.’
(3) Yr Ysgerbwd Arminaidd (The Arminian Skeleton?)… Gan Wilym Huntingdon… Dolgellau: Argraphwyd gan Williams, a Jones’ 240pp., cr. 8vo, undated, but printed in 1807, being one of several publications of the like controversial nature issued in that year and the years immediately preceding it.
…was a zealous Church-of-England man; and to him is attributed the planting of the ivy that adorns the walls of church and churchyard at Dolgelly. He also bequeathed the half-yearly interest of £50 to the poor communicants of the Parish Church of Llanfachreth. He died Aug. 16, 1841, aged 84 years, and was buried in the Llanfachreth churchyard(1) His wife (Barbara, a daughter of squire Pierce, of Pengwern, Ffestiniog, who brought him considerable wealth), had predeceased him Mar. 19, 1830(2)
His apprentice and, in 1807-8, his partner, was besides being better equipped, more ambitious. Becoming sole proprietor in 1808(3), he undertook the printing of ‘Yr Eurgrawn Wesleyaidd’(4), issuing its first number in January, 1809. This periodical he printed from January, 1809, to December, 1811, and again from January, 1819, to May, 1824. He started or printed several other periodicals, such as (a) the second number (1814) of ‘Cylchgrawn Cymru’ (a Church-of-England quarterly), (b) ‘Y Dysgedydd Crefyddol’ (A Congregational monthly) from November, 1821, to December, 1832, (c) ‘Pethau Newydd a Hen’ (a juvenile montly) from 1826 to April, 1829, (d) ‘Trysor I Blentyn’ (a juvenile monthly) in 1826, (e) ‘Yr Athraw’ (a juvenile monthly) from January, 1827, to June, 1829, (f) ‘Trysorfa Rhyfeddodau’ (a monthly) in 1833-4, and (g) ‘Y Dirwestwr’ (a temperance monthly) in 1840-4. But he was better at inaugurating than continuing a project, and was dilatory and frequently careless in execution. This accounts for the taking out of his hands of more than one periodical.
His early printing at DOLGELLY was good and important, including such heavy tomes as the quatros, (a) a reprint of Walter’s Welsh dictionary in 1815, (b) ‘Holl Weithiau Josephus’ in 1819, and (c) a reprint of Dr. William Morgan’s Welsh version of the Bible (1588) in 1821(5). He also published the first 17 parts, comprising nearly 550pp. 4to, of a translation into the Welsh of Matthew Henry’s commentary, the first part appearing May 1st, 1820, and the 17th in 1825(5).
But the hearsay statement made by ‘Gwalchmai’ (the Rev. Richard Parry) on pp. 186-7 of ‘Y Dysgedydd’ (1882), that RICHARD JONES was the first to publish a Welsh weekly newspaper, cannot be entertained. The statement (translated) is as follows: –‘It is said that Richard Jones … was the first to venture to publish a Welsh weekly newspaper; it continued one year only; he lost money on the affair, and he gave up the venture. The Rev. Josiah Harris [(‘Gomer’)], of Swansea, afterwards resuscitated it in Seren Gomer.’ – Surely, had such a paper been issued, and especially week by week for a year, some authentic record would have survived by Jan. 1, 1814, when the first number of ‘Seren Gomer’ was issued and universally hailed as the first attempt at a newspaper in Cymraeg. ‘Gwalchmai’ was misled by somebody who evidently believed that the first series of ‘Seren Gomer’ (1814-15) was published by RICHARD JONES instead of by JOSEPH HARRIS (‘GOMER’), who, in 1818, after the suspension of ‘Seren Gomer’ in 1815, resuscitated it under the same title.
In 1824 RICHARD JONES was in trouble over nonpayment of paper tax, and had for a time to keep out of the way of civil authorities.(6) This probably accounts for his selling(6) his press, after printing the June number of ‘Yr Eurgrawn Wesleyaidd’ in 1824, to the Welsh Circuit of the Wesleyan-Methodist Connexion, who had at Dolgelly, in the autumn of 1823, formed its first(6) Welsh Bookroom…
(1) ‘Cambrian Bibliography’, p 719, on the authority of L. Williams, Dolgelly, and CATHERINE JONES, widow of RICHARD JONES.
(2) ‘Y Dysgedydd Crefyddol’ (April, 1830, p. 128)
(3) Rowlands, in ‘Cambrian Bibliography’, p. 336, is in error in stating that RICHARD JONES printed ‘Yr Udgorn Arian’ (undated) ‘about the years 1800-1804’: RICHARD JONES was only an apprentice, aged 17, in 1804.
(4) The Welsh Wesleyan monthly, still issuing.
(5) See my (ed. Ifano Jones) notes, description and bibliography in ‘The Bible in Wales’ (1906)
(6) ‘Yr Eurgrawn Wesleyaidd’ (1890, p. 288, and 1909, pp. 4 and 33)
(Eds. Note: Not to take anything away from Ifano Jones, but given this family’s track record, it isn’t impossible for me to contemplate that RICHARD JONES would have been both ambitious enough and capable enough to attempt the FIRST Welsh language weekly newspaper, regardless of his youth. This family had a penchant for striking off at a very early age at endeavors we would consider today, almost impossible, at any age. I consider the statement of the Rev. Richard Parry, on pp. 186-7 of ‘Y Dysgedydd’ (1882), that RICHARD JONES was the first to publish a Welsh weekly newspaper, in the realm of absolute possibility.)
…Committee, and who, in 1824, removed the Bookroom from Dolgelly to Llanfair Caereinion, Montgomeryshire (1). With the press went three journeymen-printers from the Dolgelly office, namely, ROBERT JONES, (‘Bardd Mawddach’), JOHN JONES (‘Idrisyn’), and RICHARD HUMPHREYS – the first to act as managing printer up to October, 1827, and afterwards as a printer in his own up to 1835(2), when he returned to Dolgelly(3).
After October, 1827, the press, Bookroom and workmen were removed from Llanfair Caereinion to Llanidoles, where they remained in operation under the management of JOHN JONES (‘Idrisyn’) until August, 1836, when the Bookroom Committee sold the press and plant to Rev. Edward Jones, Wesleyan Minister at Llantysilio, Montgomeryshire, who gave more than £300 for them, with extra sums for paper, etc. (4), and who made his son, JOHN MENDUS JONES, master-printer(4). The latter was born in 1814(5), and had served his apprenticeship in the office under JOHN JONES (‘Idrisyn’), and from September, 1836, printed ‘Yr Eurgrawn Wesleyaidd’ at Llanidloes up to September 1846. From October, 1846, to April, 1853, Yr Eurgrawn Wesleyaidd’ was printed by JOHN JONES (‘Idrisyn’); but from May, 1853, until his death Feb. 24, 1899(5), the montly was printed by JOHN MENDUS JONES, who, in December, 1859, after issuing the number for that month, had removed his press to Bangor, Carnarvonshire. At his death the press became the property of EVAN THOMAS, who after printing ‘Yr Eurgrawn Wesleyaidd’ for years in 207, High Street, Bangor, prints it now in the Gwalia Printing Works, Sacksville Road, Bangor.
After disposing of his press to the Wesleyan-Methodist Connexion in 1824, RICAHRD JONES acquired another, and continued to print at DOLGELLY in 1825, 1826, and 1827, as many of the dated examples of his imprint prove. But in 1827 he left Dolgelly for PONTYPOOL, in Monmouthshire, to set up there the first of three branch printing-offices he then and subsequently managed. On the Pontypool publications the same founts of type and the same kinds of ‘flowers’ and borders are found as on those of Dolgelly. But the struggle to keep both presses working simultaneously, at such a distance the one from the other – the one at the foot of Cader Idris and the other at the foot of the Tranch – did not last long; and few and slight are the publications that bear his Pontypool imprint, his most important being three parts out of a projected dozen comprising a volume of Biblical and moral essays, entitled ‘Y Blaguryn’, from the pen of David Owen (‘Brutus’). The first part was issued in October, 1827, the second later in the same year, and the third in 1828. Each part numbers 32pp, demy 8vo, in a wrapper full of notices of forthcoming numbers, apologies for delays and irregularities, and promises of amends in the future. The title of the first part is, ‘Nodded | y | Goron | |i | Ryddid | y | Wasc. | 1. Y Rhifyn Cyntaf, |Pris a chyhoeddwyd, | o’r | Blaguryn, | Gan Brutus. | … | Pontypool : | Argraffawyd a chyhoeddwyd gan Richard Jones ; | Cyhoeddedid hefyd | Gan R. Jones, yn Nolgellau, Meirion : | Hydref 1827.’
RICHARD JONES’s compositor at PONTYPOOL(6) was JEFFREY JONES (‘Ab Cilydd’, ed. Son of mother named Cilydd?) who in 1828 became a master-printer himself at Llandovery, Carmarthenshire, but died August 5, 1830, aged 24 years((6). (For further particulars respecting JEFFERY JONES see Chapter XXVI.)
(1) ‘Yr Eurgrawn Wesleyaidd’ (1890, p. 288, and 1909, pp. 4 and 33)
(2) Pigot & Co.’s directory (1835-6).
(3) ‘Y Dysgedydd’ (1838, p. 220).
(4) Ibid (1899, p. 200).
(5) ‘Lleuad yr Oes’ (1830, p. 282).
Before(1) September, 1828, RICHARD JONES had decided to remove his press from Pontypoll to MERTHYR TYDFIL. There, at first, he printed in partnership with the REV. JOHN JENKINS(2) – a Baptist minister, better known, as well as more endeared to the peoples of Wales, as SHÔN SHINCYN – and THOMAS WILLIAMS (‘GWILYM MORGANWG’) – ‘mine host’ of The New Inn, Pontypridd. Their imprint appears on (a) ‘Pregeth, ar Execiiel X. 13. “O Olwyn”. Gan William Davies, Llantrisant. Merthyr: Argrawffwyd gan Jenkins a’I Gyfeillion. 1828.’, 16pp., foolscap 8 vo.; (b) ‘Ymddiddanion rhwng Thomas y Colier, a Dafydd y Miner… Gan hen Finer. Y Trydydd Argraffiad… Merthyr; argraffwyd dros J. Jones, gan Jenkins a’I Gyf… 1828.’ 34 pp., 12mo, with a two-page advertisement at the end headed ‘Llyfrau Cymraeg, ar werth gan Jenkins, Jones, gan John Jones, cyhoeddwr y llyfr hwn’; (c) ‘Traethawd, … Swper Argraffwyd gan Jenkins a’I Gyfeillion,. 1828.’, 256pp., foolscap 8vo, the colophon and the last page being ‘Merthyr; argraffwyd gan R. Jones.”
Once before, but only for a short time in 1819, SHÔN SHINCYN and GWILYM MORGANWG (THOMAS WILLIAMS) had been in partnership as master ‑printers in Mill Street, MERTHYR TYDFIL; but from, 1819 to May 30, 1827, when the press and type of that office were removed for re-erection at MAESYCWMWR, Monmouthshire, SHÔN SHINCYN was the sole proprietor.
Lacking money and trade connections, RICHARD JONES, in re-erecting his Pontypool press in the High Street (=’Heol Fawr’) at MERTHYR TYDFIL, found the names, if not the actual partnership, of SHÔN SHINCYN and GWILYM MORGANGWG advantageous to him. However, before the end of 1828, he was on his own; and by January, 1829, he had printed there the January number of the juvenile monthy, ‘Yr Athraw’(3), of which he printed five more numbers, the last of them being that for June, 1829. At MERTHYR, in 1829, he printed little else, probably not much more than (a) the objects and rules of ‘Cymdeithas y Dynolwyr yn Nantyglo’… Merthy: Argraffwydd gan Richard Jones. 1829.’ 24pp., cr. 8vo; (b) ‘Traethawd ar Dywyllwch t Cymry, a Bendithion eu Gwlad … Merthyr: Argraffwyd gan R. Jones. 1829.’ 24pp., foolscap 8vo; (c) ‘Twyll Sosiniaeth… gan David Griffiths…Merthyr: Argraffwyd ac ar werth gan Richard Jones… 1830.’ Cr. 8vo, 40pp.; and (d) a foolscap folio poster in Welsh and English announcing ‘The Annual Meeting of Cymmrodorion Society of Merthyr-Tydfil,… at the Bush Inn, on Tuesday, the 14th of July, 1829…R. Jones, Printer and Auctioneer, Merthyr.’
But RICHARD JONES having sold the Merthyr press and type March 20, 1829(4) two months before he printed the June number of of ‘Yr Athraw’ – to WILLIAM ROWLANDS, who immediately removed them back to Pontypool, and who, despite the delay over the removal, was able to issue in August, 1829, a double number (July-August) of ‘Yr Athraw’, — could not have printed ‘Twyll Sosiniaeth’ (1830) at MERTHYR except on somebody else’s press; and a comparison of the type-founts used in ‘Twyll Sosinaeth with those used by BENJAMIN MORGAN, High Street, MERTHYR, in ‘Traethawd ar Ostyngeiddrwydd… Gan… (Togarma)’ (1830), points to BEJAMIN MORGAN’s being that particular press.
In the beginning of 1831 WILLIAM ROWLANDS disposed of the Pontypool press and type, and retired from business. (For further particulars respecting WILLIAM ROWLANDS see under PONTYPOOL in the second part of this work.)
(1) On p. 160 of ‘Y Dwsgedydd Crefyddol’ (May, 1829) there was ‘Ynglynion Croesawaid Mr. Richard Jones, Argrawffydd, I Ferthyr, Medi, 1828.
(2) See Xhapeter XXIII, and under ‘MAESCYCWMWR’ in the second part of this work, for further particulars.
(3) Printed previously from Merthyr from January, 1827 (the first number) to December, 1828.
(4) Cofiant… William Rowlands, D.D…. Gan… Howell Powell’ (1873, p. 159)
Meanwhile RICHARD JONES’s Dolgelly press thrives. Since 1813(1), he had described his press as ‘Gomerian Press’(1) and ‘Gomer-Wasg’(2), which he varied later as ‘Y Wasg Omeraidd’(3). To his activities as a printer, publisher and bookbinder, he added those of auctioneer. He was also as elder in the local Wesleyan-Methodist church, and on the ‘plan’ as a preacher.
Early in 1842(4) he again left his home and office at Dolgelly in charge of his family and employees, and proceeded with his son, ISAAC FRANCIS JONES, to MACHYNLLETH, Montgomeryshire, to set up there his second branch-printing office as ‘Jones Richard, printer, Pentre rhedyn st.’; but later in 1844(5) he had given his son a share in the business of the branch, and in January, 1845(6), he had made him sole proprietor.
ISAAC FRANCIS JONES, like his father, was a Wesleyan-Methodist local preacher. By May, 1849, he had sold his press and the contents of his office to Adam Evans, and had emigrated to the United States. On pp. 124-5 of ‘Yr Eurgrawn Wesleyaidd; (1850) I find “Anerchiad at Mr. Isaac Francis Jones, gynt o Dolgellau, Argraffydd, a Phregethwr yr Efengyl; Yr hwn a Ymfudodd o Fachynlleth I Unol Daleithaiu yr America, en Mehefin, 1849, gyda’I Briod, a Mr. Evan E. Jones ei Frawd-yn-nghyfraith; ac a hwyliasant o Gaerefrog Newydd I fyned I San Francisco, California, Rhagfyr 11, 1849,’ signed and dated ‘Ei Dad, R.J. Dolgellau, Ionawr, 1850.’ Alas! By Nov. 3, 1850 – his birthday – he had died of cholera at San Francisco, at the age of 31(7). He was born Nov. 3, 1819, and was the fourth son of RICAHRD JONES. In his 20th year (1839), having served his apprenticeship in his father’s office, he had left Dolgelly to work as a compositor in ‘The Carnarvon and Denbeigh Herald’(8) office, Carnarvon. After a brief sojourn there, he returned home. In February, 1840, he left again, this time to work for a London printer named GAUTRESS, in the office of ‘The Watchman’(9) – a Wesleyan-Methodist organ. After a year and a half in London, he returned home once more. No printer having been at MACHYNLLETH for some years, his father, early in 1842, setting up there a branch office, put him in charge. March 20, 1846, he married Mary, the only daughter of Edward Jones, Bryncrug, near Towyn, Marionethshire. Monday morning, May 28, 1849, he left his father’s house for Liverpool, embarking on June 6 in the steamship, ‘Constellation’, for New York, and landing there July 10. Leaving new York, December 6, in the steamship, ‘Pawbattan’, and rounding Cape Horn, he landed in San Francisco July 30, 1850, and on the following morning was engaged as a compositor on an evening newspaper.(10) He was deeply religious and was the first Welsh Wesleyan preacher in San Francisco, initiating in his own house there a Sunday School for the instruction of Welsh people of…
(1) ‘Casglaid o Bregethau… Gomerian Press: Dolgellau, Argraphydd, gan R. Jones. 1813.’ Xiii, 240pp dy. 8vo.
(2) Ffydd Eliphaz y Temanaid … Gan… William Williams…Gomer Wasg: Dolgellau, Argraphydd gan Richard Jones. 1824.’
(3) Pryddestau Gwodrwyol … T.B. Morris (Gwyneddfardd..)…Y Wasg Omeraidd: Dolgellau: Argraphydd gan R. Jones. 1853.
(4) ‘A Catalog of …Books …Auction Bodtalog House, Near Towyn…July 13th and 14th, 1842…Machynlleth: Printed by R. Jones’, 16pp., foolscap 8vo.
(5) ‘Y Ffordd Dra Rhagorol… Gan Richard Davies… Machynlleth: A Argraphydd gan Richard and Isaac Jones. 1844.’, 12pp., cr., 8vo.
(6) ‘Anerch at Weinidogion Crist,… 4pp., foolscap 8vo; on p.4 – ‘Griffith Evans. Maes-y-Pandy, Dydd Calan, 1845. I.F. Jones, Argraphydd, Machynlleth.’
(7) ‘Yr Eurgrawn Wesleyaidd’ (1851, p. 227 et seq.).
(8) From Jan. 1, 1831 (no. 1) up to and including Jan. 2, 1836, ‘The Carnarvon Herald and North Wales Advertiser’; since Jan 9, 1836, until to-day ‘The Carnarvon Herald and North and South Wales Independent.’
(9) Jan. 7, 1835 (no. 1) – Dec. 31, 1884 (the last no.)
(10)‘The Evening Picayune’ (‘Welsh People of California… by David Hughs (Afronydd) San Francisco’ (1923), p. 15.
…the city. When, under pressure of work in the offce, he was asked to work on a Sunday, he resolutely refused to do so, affirming that ‘not all the gold of California could tempt him to desecrate the Lord’s Day.’ But Nov. 3 he died of cholera. Three days after his young widow succumbed to the same scourge. Both lie buried in a cemetery situate near San Francisco.
When ADAM EVANS purchased the MACHYNLLETH press from ISAAC FRANCIS JONES in 1849, the office had been removed from Pentre Rhedyn Street to Maengwyn Street(1) By 1858(2) ADAM EVANS had removed it to Penyrallt Stree: he was there in 1868(3). By 1880(4) he had removed it back to Maengwyn Street Street, where it remained until his death March 3, 1896(5), aged 77 years. He was one of eight children of the Rev. William Evans, Wesleyan minister, and his wife Jane, the daughter of Maurice and Elizabeth Davies of Carnarvon. His father was born at Carnarvon Oct. 25, 1779, and died at Machynlleth July 30, 1854(6). ADAM EVANS’s mother too, was a native of Carnarvon, born in 1784, married June 25, 1811, and like her husband, died at Machynlleth, July 3, 1861(7)
After ADAM EVANS death in 1896, his widow, MARGARET EVANS(8), carried on the business until her death Dec. 26, 1905, aged 73 years.
After her death MR. JOHN EVANS became sole proprietor, and still carries on. Some of his earlier imprints describe his office as ‘The Standard Printing Works’; but his later ones describe it as ‘The Albion Printing Works’. MR. JOHN EVANS, prior to his becoming master-printer, had spent 14 years in the office, and is the last of the apprentices trained by ADAM and MARGARET EVANS.
In 1849(9) RICHARD JONES set up his second son(10), RICHARD, in business as printer at LLANFYLLIN, Montgomeryshire. The press, described in its imprint as ‘Albion Press’(9), was the third set up by RICHARD JONES, senior. About 1859(11) the son disposed of the business, and migrated to MACHYNLLETH, to work for LEWIS WILLIAMS. Subsequently, he worked at the printing office of THOMAS GEE, Denbeigh, removing thence to RHYL, to work in the printing-office of ‘Y Dywysogaeth’ the Church of England weekly; and here he died aged 64 years. Prior to his settling at LLANFYLLIN, he had worked as a journeyman in South Wales, having been regularly brought up as a printer in his father’s office. In a letter to me Feb. 23, 1908, the son of RICHARD JONES, junior, namely D. LEWIS JONES, Seacombe, Cheshire, also a compositor adds, ‘I have my father’s apprenticeship indentures, binding him to my grandfather as a printer in the year 1828, at Dolgelly.’
RICHARD JONES, senior, had four other sons to whom he taught the craft of printing at Dolgelly. In his elegy to his son ISAAC FRANCIS JONES, in ‘Yr Eurgrawn Wesleyaidd’ (1851, p.375 et seq.), he mentions the names of his eleven children, those of the six sons being WILLIAM, RICHARD, ABRAHAM, ISAAC, FRANCIS, JACOB, and JABEZ, and those of the daughters being Catherine, Ellenor,…
(1) Slater’s Directory (1850)
(2) Ibid (1858-9)
(3) ‘Mynag Blynyddol Cymdeithas Genhadol… Trefynddion Wesleyaidd… Deheudir Cymru… Machynlleth:… Adam Evans, Hoel Penyrallt. 1868.’
(4) Ibid. (1880) ‘Machynlleth:… Adam Evans, Hoel Penyrallt.
(5) Information kindly supplied by Mr. Hugh Davies, chemist, Machynlleth, and MR. JOHN EVANS, printer, Machynlleth.
(6) ‘Yr Eurgrawn Wesleyaidd’ (1856, p.1, et seq.).
(7) Ibid. (1862, p. 265 et seq.).
(8) ‘Mynag Blynyddol Cymdeithas Genhadol… Trefnyddion Wesleyaidd, Talaeth Ddeheuol Cymru… Machynleth: Argraffwyd gan M. Evans, Heol Maengwyn. 1899.
(9) ‘Pregeth… ar Fedydd Dwfr. Gan D. Morgan, Llanfyllin. Albion-Wasg: Llanfyllin, Argraffwyd gan Richard Jones. 1849.
(10)‘Yr Eurgrawn Wesleyaidd’ (1851, p. 229).
(11)He is listed under ‘Llanfyllin’ in Slater’s directory (1858-9).
…Charlotte, Maryanne, and Margaret. In the elegy the father laments as well the death of four other of his children, namely Ellenor, Charlotte, Jacob, and Catherine. The last mentioned, who had kept house for her brother ISAAC FRANCIS JONES, at Machynlleth, for the four years there prior to his marriage, died Dec. 3, 1850 – a month after her brother – at the age of 41 years(1) Feb. 28, 1856, JABEZ, the youngest passed away, at the age of 25 years, on the Island of Malta(2) JABEZ had always worked at home with his father, while ABRAHAM, like RICHARD, worked for some years as a journeyman in South Wales(3).
Besides his sons, the brother (LEWIS EVAN JONES) and first cousin (WILLIAM ELLIS JONES ‘Gwilym Cawrdaf’) of RICAHRD JONES, senior, were compositors, both, like the sons, serving their apprenticeships in the office at Dolgelly.
LEWIS EVAN JONES left the office in 1814(4) to settle as master-printer at Carnarvon(4), where he died Dec. 28, 1860, aged 66 years, and was buried in Llanbeblg churchyard(5). His office was in Bridge Street(6), in the Pendist, Turf Square, described in his imprint to ‘Cofiant… Peter Williams’ (1817) as Arvonion Press’.
WILLIAM ELLIS JONES (‘GWILYM CAWRDAF’), born at Tyddyn Shôn, Abererch, Carnarvonshire, Oct. 9, 1795, was the eldest son of Ellis Jones, a dyer and fulkler of Y Bontddu, near Dolgelly, who in November 1793, had married Catherine, the daughter of William Hughs, and who, in 1795, turned schoolmaster in Carnarvonshire – first of all at Llanarmon Church. Ellis Jones was the brother of William Jones , Bryntirion, near Dolgelley, who was the father of RICAHRD JONES, the Dolgelly master-printer, to whom – his first cousin – ‘Gwilym Cawrdaf’ was bound as apprentice in 1808, before attaining his 13th year. In 1815, at the expiration of his seven years’ apprenticeship, he went to Carnarvon as compositor in the office of his cousin and fellow-apprentice, LEWIS EVAN JONES. ‘Gwilym Cawrdaf’ was never a master-printer; but he proved himself an admirable overseer in many printing offices, including those of CARNARVON (L.E. Jones), DOLGELLY (Richard Jones), Carmarthen (John Evans), CARMARTHEN (John Lewis Bridstocke, Lammas Street), Merthyr (Josiah Thomas Jones), Cowbridge (Josiah Thomas Jones), and Carmarthen (Josiah Thomas Jones). Like other members of his family, he was a Wesleyan-Methodist local preacher. He died March 27, 1848, at the age of 53 years, and was buried in St. Peter’s Churchyard, Carmarthen, April 2. As poet, litterateur and landscape painter, ‘GWILYM CAWRDAF’ won much fame in his day. One of his three sons – a namesake – became a compositor, and worked under him for some years at COWBRIDGE; ‘and a fine workman he was’.(7)
‘GWILYM CAWRDAF’s brother ELLIS, born at Dolbenmaen, Carnarvonshire, July 18, 1804, was also a compositor, who, at the age of eleven years, was apprenticed to his first cousin, LEWIS EVAN JONES, at the outset of the latter’s career as master-printer at CARNARVON. In 1826 he worked as a compositor in JOHN A. WILLIAMS’s office at SWANSEA, and subsequently in the ‘Seren Gomer’ office at CARMARTHEN. From Cramarthen he went to CARDIFF, to become overseer of the office of WILLIAM BIRD. From Cardiff he went to London, to work in Eyre & Spottiswoode’s office, returning in about two years to Carnarvon, to work on ‘The Carnarvon and Denbeigh Herald’. In 1845 he became overseer…
(1) ‘Yr Eurgrawn Wesleyaidd’ (1851, pp. 87-8)
(2) Ibid. (1856, p. 180), where his name is given as Jabez G. Jones.
(3) The late Edward Griffith, J.P. Coedcymer, Dolgelly, in a letter to be Feb. 15, 1908.
(4) See ‘L.E. Jones, Argraffwydd, Caernarfon’, as one of the vendors in the imprint to ‘Casgliad o Bregethau… P. Williams, D.D.’, vol. II., which, although undated, was printed before vol. III, with its dedication dated Nov. 1, 1814. See also the back page of the wrapper of ‘Cylchgrawn Cymru’ (No. 2, 1814 for ‘Caernarfon, Mr. L.E. Jones, Printer and Stationer.’, as one of the vendors.
(5) ‘Y Traethodydd’ (1901, p. 276).
(6) Pigot & Co.’s directory (1828, 1830 and 1844) and Slater’s (1844, 1850 and 1858-9)
(7) ‘Gweithoedd Cawrdaf’ (1851, pp. Xii-xxii.).
… of HUGH HUMPHREY’s office at Carnarvon – a post he held for 15 years. At the death of his cousin, LEWIS EVAN JONES, in 1860, he bought his office; but after two years and a half as a master-printer, he had a paralytic seizure, which incapacitated him for any work during the remainder of his life. He died May 23, 1870, aged 66 years, and was buried with his parents in Llanbeblig churchyard(1) Like his brother, ‘GWILYM CAWRDAF’, whose life and works (‘Gweithoedd Cawrdaf’… 1851) he compiled and edited, he was a literary man, and compiled, among other things, a Welsh-English pocket dictionary printed by W. POTTER and Co., Carnarvon, in 1840.
‘GWILYM CAWRDAF’ and his brother, ELLIS JONES, were not the only literary men apprenticed to RICHARD JONES, Dolgelly. – ROBERT JONES (‘BARDD MAWDDACH’), born in Barmouth in 1801, was another. He settled at Llanfair, Caereinion in 1824, first as managing printer to the Wesleyan-Methodist Connexion, and afterwards, from October, 1827, as master-printer, describing his press in his earlier imprint as ‘Golden Press’ or ‘Eur-Wasg’(2), and in his later as ‘Albion Press’(3). He printed there until 1835(4), when he sold his plant and type t ROBERT HUMPHREYS(3), a compositor in the office, and returned to DOLGELLY. In 1845 he left for London, undertaking there an important post with CLOWES, LTD., Government Printers(5). In 1886(6) he died at Bermondsey(6), London. – The REV. JOHN JONES (Idrisyn’), born Jan 20, 1804, was another literary man apprenticed to RICAHRD JONES. His apprenticeship dates from 1818, In 1824 he accompanied ‘BARDD MAWDDACH’ to Llanfair Caereinion, to work as compositor on ‘Yr Eurgrawn Wesleyaidd’, becoming, bay January 1827, managing printer for the Wesleyan-Methodist Connexion. In October of the same year he went with the Connexion’s press to LLANIDLOES, to print ‘Yr Eurgrawn Wesleyaidd’ there until the end of 1836, when the press was sold to the Rev. Edward Jones, Wesleyan Minister, Llantysilio, the father of JOHN MENDUS JONES, a compositor of the same town. The Wesleyan Bookroom and printing-office were housed in the ‘Elephant Buildings’, Long Bride Street(7). But JOHN JONES (Idrisyn’) remained at Llanidloes as master-printer on his own. After many years of usefulness as a local preacher in the Wesleyan-Methodist Connexion, he took Holy Orders in the Established Church in 1854, serving as curate at Llandysul, Cardiganshire, until 1858, when he became vicar of Llandysiliogogo, in the same county. He died at New Quay, near by, August 17, 1887, aged 83 years, and lies buried in the Llandysiliogogo churchyard.(8) He compiled and published many works, the most important being ‘Yr Esboniad Berniadol’, 6 volumes (1837-45), and ‘Y Deonglydd Berniadol’, 5 volumes. (1852)(9) During 1852-3 he was Mayor of Llanidloes. – Another of the apprentices of RICAHRD JONES was ROBERT RICHARDS, who set up as master-printer at Dolgelly in 1818, printing in that year Rhys Jones’s “Gwaith Prydyddawl’, and emigrating to the United States sometime after 1821, when he printed Dafydd Ionawr’s ‘Cywydd y Diluw’.
The late Peter Williams, B.A., Dolgelly, in ‘Yr Eurgrawn Wesleyaidd’ (1909, p. 33), states RICAHRD JONES’s first office at Dolgelly was on the site upon…
(1) ‘Y Herald Cymraeg’ (May 27, 1870).
(2) ‘Ychydog o Hanes Enwogion yr Hen Destament… Gan Samuel Roberts… Eur-Wasg; Llanfair-Caer-Einion; Argraffyd gan R. Jones. 1827.’ 22pp.
(3) See the wrappers of ‘Y Geirlyfr Cymraeg… Gan Owne Williams’ (1825-35), 4to.
(4) Pigot & Co.’s directory (1835-6)
(5) ‘Yr Eurgrawn Wesleyaidd’ (1909, p. 64).
(6) ‘Hanes Dolgellau’ (1872, p 116).
(7) ‘A Municipal History of Llanidloes. By E.R. Horsfall-Turner, B.A…. 1908’ pp. 118-121.
(8) See my notes, description and bibliography in ‘The Bible in Wales’ (1906).
…which stood, in 1909, Mr. Henry Miles’s bakery. This probably means that RICAHRD JONES’s first office was Dolgelly’s first; that is, Thomas Williams’s from 1798 to 1808, which was afterwards demolished, a better one being erected on the site. It is situate in that part of town known as ‘Yr Uffern Fach’ (+ The Little Hell). RICHARD JONES removed the office thence to a building which in time became the dwelling-house and shop for Gruffydd Dafydd, the watchmaker, the press being set up on the upper floor. The building also was demolished, and in 1909 Grenwich House(1) – the shop of the late William Williams, the watchmaker – occupied on the site. All that may be correct; but, to be more definite, RICHARD JONES’s office was on Eldon Row – opposite The Angel Hotel on Eldon Square – up to 1858, when OWEN REES purchased the business from RICHARD JONES’s widow, CATHERINE JONES(2).
By 1863 the house on Eldon Row was again the home of a printing press, that of DAVID HUMPHREY JONES, of whom later on.
RICHARD JONES was of good yeoman stock, being the namesake and grandson of Richard Jones, heir of Y Tyddyn Du, Y Bont Ddu and Ty’n-y-buarth, near Dolgelly. The grandfather was a well-to-do Church of England man, who saw to the proper education of his sons, William and Ellis. William married Catherine, daughter of Lewis Evans, of Ty’n-yr-eithin in the parish of of Towyn, Merionethshire, and became the father of nine children, the third born being RICHARD JONES, the Dolgelly printer, and the fifth LEWIS EVAN JONES, the Carnarvon printer. William Jones lived at Bryntirion, Y Bont Du, and died Feb. 2, 1830(3) He contributed much to ‘Yr Eurgrawn Wesleyaidd’ above his pseudonym, ‘Pererin Pen Nebo’(4). In a family Bible in the possession of Mrs. John Jones, daughter of RICHARD JONES, the printer, the late Charles Ashton, in 1892, found the following record –‘RICHARD JONES, Printer, Dolgelly, was born May 26th, 1787, at Brunterion, Bontddu, Dolgelly. His wife Catherine Evans was born March 18th., 1786; and they were married at Dolgelley Parish Church on Saturday the 7th day of January, 1807(5). The date of RICHARD JONES death is not known; but that he died in in 1855 is pretty clear from the fact that the obituary notice of his son Jabez, in ‘Yr Eurgrawn Wesleyaidd’ (June, 1856), he is referred to to as ‘y diweddar [= the late] Mr. Richard Jones.’
After his death, his widow, CATHERINE JONES, carried on the business until 1858(6), when OWEN REES, the son of Rees Owen,, the mason, and a printer who had learnt his craft in EVAN JONES’s office, succeeded by purchase to the sole proprietorship of the business. He printed in Bridge Street, describing his establishment as ‘Caxton House’, and dying June 9, 1887, aged 60, was buried June 11 in the burial-ground of Zion Chapel, Dolgelly(7).
His widow, ELIZABETH REES – a sister of EVAN JONES, master-printer, Dolgelly (of whom later) – carried on the business until January, 1891, when she sold it to MR. EDWARD WILLIAMS (‘Llew MEIRION’) Dolgelly, in whose hands it has continued ever since, the office known as ‘The Victorian Printing Works’, being situate in Well Street, whither he removed in 1887(8) from Eldon Square, where he had commenced printing in 1886. He spent his apprenticeship with…
(1) The one of the two houses constituting the block on Eldon Square known as ‘Y Plâs Newydd’, Grenwich House today is occupied by Mr. R.P. Owen, jeweler, etc., while Mr. Rowland Ellis, draper, etc., occupies the other house known as ‘Y Plâs Newydd’.
(2) Pigot & Co.’s directory (1830 and 1844) and Slater’s (1844, 1850 and 1858-9).
(3) ‘Yr Eurgrawn Wesleyaidd’ (1831, pp. 65, 97 and 129).
(4) ‘Yr Eurgrawn Wesleyaidd’ (1830, p. 90).
(5) ‘Y Geninen’ (1892, p. 23).
(6) Not ‘1859’ as stated in OWEN REES in ‘By-Gones’ (1878-9, p. 347), because although her imprint appears on the titlepage of ‘Y Gwrthryfel yn India… Dolgellau: A Argraffwyd gan Catherine Jones’, preface dated ‘Mai, 1858.’, the imprint of OWEN REES appears on ‘Y Seraph … Dolgellau: Argraffwyd … gan Owen Rees, Heol y Bont. 1858’
(7) ‘Y Goleuad’ (June 11, 1887).
(8) The year of the late Queen Victoria’s Jubilee; hence the name of the office.
… DAVID HUMPHREY JONES in ‘Y Goleuad’ office, Dolgelly. DAVID HUMPHREY JONES commenced as master-printer in a house opposite The Ship Hotel.
RICAHRD JONES was not the only apprentice trained in THOMAS WILLIAMS’s office at Dolgelly during 1798-1807; JOHN PUGH (‘IEUAN AWST’) was another, born August 26, 1783(1), at Melin Ddraenen, in the parish of Celynin, Merionethshire, his parents being David and Catherine Pugh. JOHN PUGH became at the age of 13 a junior clerck in a solictor’s office at Dolgelly; but after spending some years there, he apprenticed himself to THOMAS WILLIAMS. He afterwards articled himself to a solicitor in the town, eventually practicing there as such, and from 1815(2) as master-printer, his office at first being at Ivy House, in which previously resided William Williams, and in which to-day resides MR. EDWARD WILLIAMS (‘LLEW MEIRION’); later the office was in Finsbury Street. JOHN PUGH died Feb. 16, 1839, in his 56th year and was buried in the churchyard of Llanfair Bryn Meurig, Dolgelly(1). His name (‘John Pugh, Heol Finsbury’) appears in the imprint to ‘Y Dysgedydd’ from January, 1833, to December, 1840; but from his death, Feb. 16, 1839, to December, 1840, his successor,
EVAN JONES, traded under his name. EVAN JONES, a native of Llanegryn, Merionethshire, had spent his apprenticeship with RICHARD JONES(3). From March, 1839, to December, 1841, his office was in Finsbury Street; from January, 1842, to August, 1848, in Meurig Street: and from September, 1848 to November, 1863, in Mount Pleasant (+’Brynteg’). During 1839-63 he printed the monthly ‘Y Dysgedydd’, and during 1843-63 another monthly, ‘Cronicl y Cymdeithasau Crefyddol’ (the first number appearing May, 1843,and the last, December, 1910). In November 1863, he retired, disposing of the business to JOHN WILLIAMS, timber merchant, the father of MARGARET OGWEN JONES, wife of WILLIAM OGWAN JONES (‘GWILYM OGWEN’), whom JOHN WILLIAMS intended to set up in the business at Dolgelly. EVAN JONES, after retiring, lived at Rhydwen(3), about a mile from Dolgelly on the old road to Towyn, there to cultivate a small farm.(3) Thursday, Mar. 31, 1881(3), in a fit of insanity from which he had occasionally suffered during the previous 15 years, he killed his wife by splitting open her skull with a hatchet, and then committed suicide by cutting his own throat with a razor. At the time he was 75 years of age. The following Monday, April 4, 1881, both bodies were buried at Llanegryn(3)
WILLIAM OGWEN JONES (‘GWILYM OGWAN’) had commenced business as master-printer in the preceding summer at BETHESDA, Bangor, Carnarvonshire; but at Y Ganllwyd, on his way to Dolgelly, he fell ill, and died at Dolgelly Dec. 18, aged 25(4). During his brief business career at Bethesda he had printed the monthly ‘Yr Ardd’ (the first number appearing Aug. 15, 1863). The office at Dolgelly was in Mervinian House, Meurig Street, where he was succeeded by his widow,
MARGARET OGWEN JONES, whose imprint appears on the ensuing January and February numbers respectively of ‘Y Dysgedydd’, ‘Cronicl y Cymdeithasau Crefyddol’, and ‘Yr Ardd’. The imprint for the M. OGWEN JONES & CO.’, ‘&Co.’ representing JOHN WILLIAMS, MARGARET OGWEN JONES’s father, GORONWY JONES acting as superintendent. Later, to…
(1) ‘Y Dysgedydd’ (March, 1839, p. 100) and ‘Cantref Meirionyth… Gan… Robert Prys Morris’ (1899, p. 396).
(2) Barddoniaeth Gristionogawl: Gan DD. Ionwr… Dolgellau: Argraphyd gan John Pugh. 1815.’ Viii, 232pp., foolscap 8vo.
(3) ‘Y Goleuad’ (Apr. 9, 1881), ‘Y Tyst a’r Dydd’ (April 8, 1881), and ‘Baner ac Amserau Cymru’ (Apr. 6, 1881).
(4) ‘Yr Ardd’ (Jan. 15, 1864, p. 96).
…superintend the office of WILLIAM HUGHE from the office of THOMAS GEE at Debeigh. In January, 1865(1), he married MARAGRET OGWEN JONES, and from May, 1866, to December, 1866, the office and its contents were the property of WILLIAM HUGHES & CO.’, ‘&Co.’ still representing JOHN WILLIAMS. By January, 1867, the business had become solely
WILLIAM HUGHES’s. The business (carried on until the end of 1899 in the name of WILLIAM HUGHES; from January, 1900, to 1910 in that of WILLIAM HUGHES & Sons; from 1910, when WILLIAM HUGHES retired, to 1912, by his two sons, trading as HUGHES BROS.; and since 1912, when the younger son, JOHN HUGHES, retired, by the elder son, ALFRED ERNEST HUGHES, trading as HUGHES BROS.) still thrives in Dolgell, but now at Y Felin Uchaf (=Upper Mill), whither, in 1911, it was removed from Mervinian House. Since June 5, 1868 (the date of the first number) the firm has printed and published the weekly, ‘Y Dydd’, and since January, 1871 (the date of the first number), the monthly, ‘Dysgedydd y Plant’.
WILLIAM HUGHES was born at Mold, Flintshire, January 27, 1838, and learnt his craft at the office of THOMAS GEE, at Denbeigh. He was J.P. for Merionethshire, and ex-Chairman of the Marionethshire County Council, when he died at Dolgelly Feb 23, 1921, aged 83; he was buried Feb. 25 at Brithdir. His widow survived until April 16, 1923, aged 84. In ‘Y Dysgedydd’ (Nov. 1921, p. 327) there is a portrait of both.
One of EVAN JONES’s apprentices was DAVID HUMPHREY JONES(2), the eldest son of Humphrey Jones, of Dolgelly, locally well known and highly respected as ‘Hwmffra Jones y Blaenor’(3). DAVID HUMPHREY JONES was apprenticed to EVAN JONES about 1854(3), in 1862(3) he left Dolgelly for London, to work there, for a short period, as compositor for CLOWES & SONS’ offices(3) whence he left to work in RICHARD HUGHES & SONS’s office at Wrexham(3); but in 1863(3) he returned to Dolgelly, opening business there as master-printer in Eldon Row(4), — in the very house(3) in which successively RICHARD JONES and his widow, CATHERINE JONES, had printed up to 1858. By 1872 he had removed his press and plant to Parliament(5) Street(6), and in 1875 from Parliament Street to Waterloo Street (7). Since January, 1879, the office has been in Smithfield Lane. From Nov. 2, 1872, until June 26, 1884, he printed for the North and South Wales Newspaper Company, the Calvanist-Methodist weekly, ‘Y Goleuad’, which had since Oct. 30, 1869 (the date of the first number) been printed for the same company by HOHN DAVIES (‘Gwyneddon’) in Bridge Street, Carnarvon. At first, for some time, owing to the limited space at his disposal in the Parliament Street office, DAVID HUMPHREY JONES printed ‘Y Goleuad’ in a loft near the premises of David Jones, the bark merchant, in Upper Smithfield(4)(=’Pen-ucha’r-dre’). From January, 1875, until December, 1878 (the date of the last number), he printed the Good-Templar monthly, ‘Y Temlydd Cymreig’, the previous numbers (March, 1873 – the first – to December, 1874) having been printed by JOHN DAVIES (‘Gwyneddon’) at…
(1) ‘Y Dysgedydd’ (Nov., 1921, p. 372).
(2) He must be distinguished from his uncle, David Jones, the china and earthenware dealer in Eldon Square at the time.
(3) ‘Y Goleuad’ (Feb. 19, 1904).
(4) Slater’s directory (1868)
(5) So named owing to the ancient structure used by Owen Glyn Dwr during his insurrection (1400-1415) being situated in it until it was removed in 1882 and re-erected in the park of the late Sir Pryce –Jones at Dolerw, Newtown, Mont.
(6) Imprint to ‘Y Goleuad’ (Nov. 2, 1872)
(7) Imprint to ‘Y Temlydd Cymreig’
…Carnarvon. From January, 1878 (the day of the first number), until February, 1884 (the date of the last), DAVID HUMPHREY JONES printed the Sunday School monthly, ‘Cronicl yr Ysgol Sabbothol’. In 1884, after printing the number of ‘Y Goleuad’ for June 28, 1884, he disposed of his business and office to MR. EVAN WILLIAM EVANS, who had served a seven-years’ apprenticeship with him. Subsequently, DAVID HUMPHREY JONES became a commercial traveler. Feb. 11, 1904, he died at his home, Lawn House, Dolgelly, aged 62(1), and was buried Feb. 15 in the Nonconformist burial-ground.
His successor in the printing and publishing business in Smithfield Lane, Mr. EVAN WILLIAM EVANS, born at Cae Einion, Dolgelly, Oct. 7 1860(2), continued to print ‘Y Goleuad’ from July 5, 1884, until June 26, 1914(3). July 1, 1914, he printed and issued the first number of his ably edited weekly, ‘Y Cymro’, still issuing from the office in Smithfield Lane. In 1888 (the first number, Jan. 6; the last March 29) he printed the weekly, ‘The Merionethshire News’, incorporated April 5, 1888, in ‘The Merioneth News and Herald’ – a localized edition of ‘The Carnarvon and Denbeigh Herald’ (Carnarvon). In January, 1885, he printed the first number of the Sunday-School monthly, ‘Y Lladmerydd’, still issuing. In January, 1888, he printed and partly edited the first number of the national monthly, ‘Cymru Fydd’, which ended its course with the April number of 1891. In January, 1896, he printed the first number of another monthly – this one for the women of Wales – entitled ‘Y Gymraes’, still issuing. At the beginning of 1917 the business was converted into a liability company, trading since as E. W. EVANS, LTD., with MR. EVANS as managing director. Since April 2, 1920, the firm has printed the weekly of the Church in Wales, entitled up to January 19, 1923, ‘Y Llan and Church News’,and since ‘Y Llan a’r Dywysogaeth’, while since January, 1920, the firm has printed the monthly of the same Church, entitled ‘Yr Haul’. This office, like that of MESSRS. HUGHES BROS., has also well maintained the reputation of the town of Dolgelly, since the days of RICHARD JONES, for the production of a large number of books of importance and merit. Mr. EVAN WILLIAM EVANS is a Justice of the Peace for the County of Merioneth.
(1) ‘Y Goleuad’ (Feb. 19, 1904).
(2) Who’s Who in Wales (1921).
(3) Since July 3, 1914, ‘Y Goleuad’ has been printed at Carnarvon.
Mold (W. Codington) ; Holywell (Edward Carnes) ; Carnarvon (Thomas Roberts, Mary Roberts, [Mary] Roberts & [R] Williams, R. Williams, R. & W. Williams, Peter Evans.)
… (Introduction content includes the first two master printers who are the focus of this chapter; W. Codington at mold, and Edward Carnes at Holywell)…
The third of the 1796 new master-printer was THOMAS ROBERTS, at CARNARVON – the printer so egregiously confused with both ‘MR. HUGHES’ and EVAN ROBERTS of the TREVECCA press in the contribution by Mr. John Ballinger in ‘The Library’ (1907). THOMAS ROBERTS’s was Carnarvon’s first press. HUGH HUMPHREYS(3), printer and publisher, Paternoster Buildings …
(3) Born at Carnarvon Sept. 17,1817, apprenticed to PETER EVANS, Carnarvon: commenced as master-printer in Bangor Street, Carnarvon, in 1837: Mayor of Carnarvon in 1876-7; died May 2, 1896, in his 79th year (‘Y Traethodydd’, 1901, p. 279).
…14, Castle Square, Carnarvon, in a letter printed on pp. 704-5 of ‘Cambrian Bibliography’, state (in Welsh) that THOMAS ROBERTS
‘…was supposed to be a son of William Roberts, of Plas Bach, near Conway, at which house John Wesley had been welcomed on one occasion. Thomas Roberts was born in 1760, either at Llanrhos or at Eglwys Bach, in Denbeighshire. His parents migrated when he was young to Trevecca, as members of the Howell Harris’s “Family”. At Trevecca Thomas Roberts was brought up to the craft of printing. It appears he was 36 years old when he went from Trevecca to Carnarvon. At the latter place he married a widow of some means. He, too, possessed property, being the owner of the Bryn Eisteddfod estate, in the parish of Llansantffraid Glyn Conway, which property, for some reason or another, remained in Chancery until about the year 1860, when it was publicaly sold, the poster advertising it as the property of the late Thomas Roberts, of Carnarvon, printer. He went to Carnarvon sometime before 1797. It is said that he was one of the persons who built the Pendist houses there in 1800. Pending, probably, the completion of the new houses, he set up his first press in the High Street, or rather, in the street leading out of it. There was at that time, at the farthest end of that street, an upper room to which access was gained by climbing exterior stairs; in that upper room was lodged the first Carnarvon press, which was a wooden one, of good make, and which worked easily. This press was in existence up to the year 1858, when the son of Peter Evans, while selling his father’s belongings, broke it up for firewood. It had come into the possession of Peter Evans by his purchasing the greater portion of Thomas Roberts’s belongings; and it was with it that Peter Evans worked for many years after settling as master-printer at Carnarvon. Thomas Roberts set up in the Pendist as soon as the new houses were completed. He published a considerable number of small books. He was a skilled, careful, and correct printer. It appears that Thomas Roberts was a Churchman; in any case, he regularly attended the Sunday-morning service at Llanbeblig Church, taking with him his little French Common-Prayer Book, with which he used to follow the service. He was a good Welsh scholar, and a proficient English one. He died April 30, 1811, at the age of 51 years, and was buried in Llanbeblig churchyard, where a memorial stone marks his last resting place. For some time after his death his widow carried on the business, several booklets bearing her imprint (“M. Roberts, Argraffydd, Caernarfon”) … In 1816, a nephew of Thomas Roberts was in partnership with the widow, their imprint (“Caernarfon: Argraphydd gan Roberts and Williams”) being found on the elegy of ‘y meddyg esgyrn hynod hwnw, Evan Thomas o Faes y Meddwyn Crych:. Subsequently, for a short time, Williams himself carried on the business, after which Lewis Evan Jones took it over, he in turn being succeeded by Peter Evans in 1816. The latter died in 1859.
Full and circumstantial as the foregoing appears to be, it nevertheless contains several errors that need correcting here. (a) THOMAS ROBERTS dying Apr. 30,1811(1), and his widow dying July 20, 1814(2), PETER EVANS, whose known earliest imprint is that on ‘Peroraieth Awen … Gan Richard Jones… Caernarfon : Argraphwyd a Chyhoeddwyd gan P. Evans. 1818.’, could not have purchased ‘the greater portion of Thomas Roberts’s belongings of THOMAS ROBERTS or his widow. (b) MRS. ROBERTS dying July 20, 1814(2), no ‘nephew of Thomas Roberts’ could be ‘in partnership with her in 1816’; neither could she be in business two years after her death. (c) LEWIS EVAN JONES did not succeed any ‘Williams’ or anybody else in 1816, because he had commenced business of his own at Carnarvon by the autumn of 1814; see L.E. Jones, Argraphydd, Caernarfon’ (as one of the vendors) in the imprint to ‘Casgliad o Bregethau… P. Williams, D.D.’, vol. II., which, although undated, was printed well before vol. III. with its dedication dated Nov. 1, 1814 ; see also his imprint to “Haul yn codi, neu Ychydig Hanes am Lwyddiant Cymdeithas y Biblau… Caernarfon; Argraphwyd gan L. E. Jones. 1815.’ (d) PETER EVANS did not succeed LEWIS EVAN JONES, both printers continued to print each in his own office for many years after 1818. € PETER EVANS died – not in ‘1859’, but March 14, 1856, aged 69(3). (f) The ‘elegy of “y meddyg esgyrn hynod hwnw, Evan Thomas o Faes y Meddwyn Crych”, was not printed in ‘1816’, but in 1814, and ‘Maes y Meddwyn Crych’ is an error for ‘Maes-y-Merddyn’: note the title is on a…
(1) ‘The Cambrian’ (May 10, 1811).
(2) ‘Mrs. Roberts, relict of the late Mr. Roberts, bookseller and printer, Carnarvon’ (Obituary notice in ‘The Cambrian’, July 29, 1814).
(3) ‘Y Traethodydd’ (1901, p. 277).
…copy seen by me – ‘Marwnad, | … Evan Thomas | Maes-y-Merddyn, | Hugh Pritchard Niwbwrch yn Mon. | Caernarfon. | Argraphwd gan [Mary] Roberts a [R.] Williams. | Gwerth Ceiniog’ |, 8pp., foolscap 8vo.
It is to be regretted that Edward Jones, in ‘Y Traethodydd’ (1901, p. 275), in repeating HUGH HUMPHREYS’s statement, makes the latter ones elegy in ‘1816’ [sic 1814] into a ‘number of books’, and this without giving the title or the date of a single publication.
THOMAS ROBERTS’s nephew, R. Williams – the partner of THOMAS ROBERTS’s widow in 1814 – was in business at Carnarvon as a master-printer on his own as early as 1810(1). After the death of his aunt, MARY ROBERTS, he became sole proprietor; but by 1817(2) he had taken into partnership his brother(2)(?) W. Williams, for to a ballad printed in 1817(2) the imprint is, ‘Caernarfon: Argraphwd gan R. a W. Williams.’(2) But Charles Ashton, accepting HUGH HUMPHREYS’s statement, and unmindful of MARY ROBERTS’s death July 20, 1814, conjectures that the ‘Williams’ of Roberts a Williams’ in ‘1816’ [sic 1814] was ‘W. Williams’ instead of R. WILLIAMS.
If, according to HUGH HUMPREYS, PETER EVANS purchased the press and the ‘greater portion of THOMAS ROBERTS’s belongings (and there is no reason for not accepting the statement), he did so of R. and W. WILLIAMS about 1818…
…(Content continues with details of THOMAS ROBERTS printing career, R. Williams, career, and a final note about PETER EVANS. Chapter ends on page 148.)
(1) ‘Can Newydd, yn dangos Bradwriaeth are droed… Caernarfon; Argraphwyd gan R. Williams. 1810.’ 4pp., foolscap 8vo.
(2) Cerdd, am y galarus ddigwyddiad a fu ar Draeth y Lafan, Ebrill 21, 1817,… (Richard Jones [‘Gwyndaf Eryi’], Erw, Llanwyndaf, a’I cant, Ebrill 29, 1817.) Caernarfon: Argraphyd gan R. a W. Williams.’ 4pp.